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Asked to be part of the interview panel to appoint my successor...

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by thejudgesscoresarein, Dec 16, 2019.

  1. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Occasional commenter

    As mentioned previously, I retire from my role as Headteacher in August 2020. I notified the CoG that I would be leaving a couple of months ago and they’ve started the recruitment process to appoint my successor. Having had a meeting with the CoG and governing body today, they have asked me to be part of the interview panel when the interviews are conducted in January- has any outgoing HT done this before? Seems strange to me that they would want someone who isn’t going to be ‘part of the school’s future’ formulating an opinion on such an important decision for the school? I don’t mind participating but it does seem bizarre to me. I do know two of the applicants that have been shortlisted (both experienced Deputy HT’s in neighbouring schools who are ready to take up their first headship).
     
  2. abacus1982

    abacus1982 Established commenter

    When I was applying for HT posts the advice I was given was that the person I was replacing should have nothing to do with the process and shouldn't even be in school the day of interviews but would be working off site.

    Not sure how I'd feel being interviewed by someone I was going to replace.
     
    Jesmond12 likes this.
  3. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    I was wondering about a reversal of this. Allow candidates to interview the incumbent, but make very clear that this isn't part of selecting the new HT, but rather a way of prospective HTs finding out about the school?
    At a lower level we always make sure that candidates get a meal with some current members of staff, but that we explicitly state that we will neither seek nor use feedback or comments from the host colleagues.
     
  4. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    If you are an LA maintained school what the CoG is proposing is unlawful. The School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009 paragraph 15 (3) or 27 (3) [depending on type of LA school] prohibit the existing Headteacher from being a member of the Selection Panel set up to recruit the new Headteacher.

    Although there is no specific law prohibiting it in academies it's a bad idea. Indeed, outside education HR will say no-one should be involved in appointing their successor because it can inhibit the selection panel from appointing a successor who will make needed changes. Suppose what the school really needs to move to the next level is someone who has a very different educational philosophy to you? How are they going to discuss that with you sitting at the table? And as you've identified, there are potential conflict of interest issues as well.

    It also inhibits the candidates. A common question will something like 'what do you see as the school's weaknesses?' How would you feel as a candidate answering that if the incumbent head were sitting there looking at you?

    Having been a governor on many headship selection panels over the years I've concluded that the only proper role for the outgoing head is make themselves available to candidates who visit so that candidates have the opportunity to ask you questions about the school, although we've never gone as afar as saying the outgoing head should leave the site on interview day. That doesn't seem necessary. Although we were grateful once that the outgoing head had a 'quiet word' with the Panel Chair about one of the candidates who had said some shockingly racist things when being shown round the school.

    Is this a panel with little experience in recruiting a new head and lacking confidence? If so maybe they need steering towards external support. In the old days LAs could provide this, but now so many LAs have no-one left to give it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
    TheoGriff, Pomza, Lattelady and 2 others like this.
  5. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Occasional commenter

    Thanks for your response and advice. I have spoken to the CoG today and told them that I don’t wish to be part of the interviewing panel to appoint my successor as I don’t feel that this would be appropriate. Explained that I will give the new HT a full handover before I leave but I feel that this decision should not be influenced by someone who is infact leaving the school.

    We’ve had a couple of candidates visit the school already, including the two that I know, and I’ve spoken to them about the school etc and answered any questions that they had.
     
    TheoGriff, nomad and Rott Weiler like this.
  6. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    A wise decision. Before I retired I did show candidates around school and gave some feedback to the C of G. The interviews took place over two days and the first day was spent in school. I was around as i was still HT but I played no part in the process.

    The interviews were held off site on the second day and again I played no part in the process.
     
    TheoGriff likes this.
  7. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    When our school appointed a Head, some occasion was organised when the candidates, governors and current Head would be able to interact - I don’t recall whether it was over coffee or lunch or something like that - but the current Head did meet the candidates and have an opportunity to give his opinion to the governors, though whether they took any note of what he said, I don’t know.
    I do hope that your governors have sufficiently experienced people in education on board for this process and that if they don’t, they will seek good guidance. Making the right decision is crucial if a school is going to continue to move forward and be successful.
     
  8. starlightexpress

    starlightexpress Occasional commenter

    I’ve been involved each time in supporting with designing the selection process, proving the resources and timetabling the day. I’ve also done all the chats with visiting potential candidates. Unless there was something of real concern, no feedback would be given from me from visits as I think it’s fair the same process is applied to all candidates.

    I preferred being off site on the day itself (my own processes had always been two days, however successors somehow got a one day process)- it was a good chance to visit new school and look to that future.

    I personally do not feel it necessary for staff or parent view being part of a process. This is where prejudice can impact, particularly around race and/ or gender. An experienced panel should be able to select the right person from a range of activities.
     
    TheoGriff and cornflake like this.
  9. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Occasional commenter

    The governing body consists of education professionals who possess wealth of experience (mixture of former teachers and SLT/HT’s) so I do think that they are capable of making the right decision.
     
  10. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    Well, that’s good to hear. I’ve heard of governing bodies where only one or two governors had any connection with education. The decisions were frequently interesting...
     
  11. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    I wasn’t a head, but was part of SLT when I was pushed out. There were no candidates for my post and several forays into agencies brought forth nothing, until the last week of the summer term. I was asked to provide an in tray exercise, to be part of an informal chat group and to show the candidate round the school.

    I devised an exercise that would demonstrate whether the candidate would have any idea of what the role entailed. It was a hopeless response, did not come across well, but it was apparent that there would be an appointment. Much cheaper then me. Disaster! Was asked to leave. No surprise there.
     
    TheoGriff likes this.
  12. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    As Rottweiler said, it would be illegal. As a governor,. I also experienced interference from the outgoing head, including giving opinions to the chair, with written notes on their applications, trying to put off a certain candidate on visiting the school and poisoning the staff against the same candidate. That candidate got the job. Showing them around the school is fine, but no more.
     
  13. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Occasional commenter

    Following on from this, interviews have been completed (I had no involvement) and the governing body have appointed my successor. One of the candidates I know from neighbouring school who is an experienced Deputy Headteacher will be taking over from me when I retire. A good decision to take the school forward!
    Now just only 7 months left.....
     
    install and Rott Weiler like this.
  14. install

    install Star commenter

    Glad it went well. Happy retirement.
     

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